Arthritis causes pain, swelling and stiffness in your joints. There is no cure for the condition, but treatments like surgery and physical therapy can help relieve its many symptoms.
You can also supplement your preferred treatment by making changes to your regular diet. Naturally reduce inflammation and pain caused by arthritis by eating the 10 anti-inflammatory foods detailed below.
The benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet
It’s best to follow an anti-inflammatory diet long-term for optimum results. The diet also offers other benefits, such as promoting weight loss, which benefits patients with arthritis since getting rid of extra weight eases the stress on your inflamed joints.
While research hasn’t found a significant correlation between certain diets and improvement of symptoms, the Arthritis Foundation suggests that following a Mediterranean-style diet can help control inflammation.
A Mediterranean diet includes lots of fruits and vegetables rich in beneficial antioxidants and phytochemicals that are anti-inflammatory compounds. It also includes fatty fish full of omega-3 fatty acids that can help prevent inflammation.
Even if you don’t have arthritis, following an anti-inflammatory diet can be good for your overall health. Consume the 10 anti-inflammatory foods below to minimize arthritis-related inflammation and pain.
Eat at least three to four servings of fresh or frozen fruits every day. Fruits are naturally rich in antioxidants and anthocyanidins.
These fruits can help fight inflammation:
- Berries (e.g., blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries)
- Red grapes
Consume at least four to five serving of raw or cooked vegetables every day. Vegetables are rich in antioxidants and an anti-inflammatory compound called beta-cryptoxanthin.
Vegetables that help fight inflammation include:
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Butternut squash
- Leafy greens
- Mustard greens
- Red peppers
- Salsa greens
- Sweet potato
- Winter squash
Beans and legumes
Consume one to two servings of these beans and legumes daily:
- Black chickpeas
- Black-eyed peas
Not all kinds of fats are bad for you. Consume at least five to seven servings of “good” fats daily.
- Cold water fish
- Extra virgin olive oil (when cooking)
- Nuts (e.g., almonds and walnuts)
Fish and seafood
Ideally, you should eat two to six servings of fish and seafood per week.
- Black cod
Before you binge on lasagna, note that you should only eat one to three servings of pasta per week.
If you have arthritis, consider healthier pasta alternatives such as:
- Bean thread noodles
- Buckwheat noodles
- Organic pasta
- Rice noodles
- Whole wheat noodles
Whole and cracked grains
Eat at least three to five servings of whole and cracked grains daily. These include:
- Basmati rice
- Brown rice
- Steel-cut oats
- Wild rice
The following spices are good for you:
- Chili peppers
- Curry powder
- Turmeric (Related: 10 Turmeric recipes that can help relieve arthritis symptoms.)
Studies suggest that selenium may have antioxidant properties.
These include foods like:
- Brazil nuts
- Lean beef
- Seafood (e.g., crab, cod, oysters, shrimp, tilapia and tuna)
- Wheat germ
- Whole grains
Tea and water
Drink two to four cups of green, white or oolong tea per day. Stay hydrated and drink lots of water throughout the day.
Foods to avoid on an anti-inflammatory diet
You should avoid the foods and drinks listed below because they can increase your risk of chronic inflammation.
- Fast food
- Foods full of trans and saturated fat
- Omega-6 fatty acids
- Processed foods (e.g., potato chips and sausages)
- Simple refined carbohydrates (like white bread)
- Sugary beverages
Eating fresh, nutritious foods regularly doesn’t just give your body the essential vitamins and minerals that it needs. Following an anti-inflammatory diet can also help improve your overall well-being, promote weight loss and minimize inflammation caused by arthritis.